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Root treatment, I've heard it's really bad?

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

The truth about root treatment.

What is root treatment?

To put it simply, root treatment is the procedure of cleansing and disinfecting the inside of the tooth (usually to remove the source of infection and to seal it preventing future infection).

Dental Abscess

Why might you need a root treatment?

There are multiple reasons why someone may need a root treatment, most common of which would be as a result of tooth decay. If tooth decay is allowed to proceed untreated, it will eventually extend into the nerve or the “pulp” in the middle of the tooth and lead to this becoming inflamed before dying off. This initial inflammation of the pulp can make the tooth very sensitive and painful. Often, if this is treated early enough, a filling may be sufficient to allow this inflammation to settle and for the pulp to recover without the need for a root treatment. More often than not the pulp will die off and bacteria will begin to multiply inside the root canal in which the pulp sits. The body is unable to clean out this source of infection itself due to the blood supply being cut off to the root canal. As a result, bacteria is able to multiply uninhibited within the root canal and drain out into the surrounding tissues resulting in a dental abscess.

Does root treatment hurt?

Generally root treatment shouldn’t hurt. In fact, if the nerve in the tooth has died off completely then root canal treatment could be completed without the need for anaesthetic, however, it is always recommended that local anaesthetic is used to err on the side of caution (just in case some of the nerve remains vital). Following the numbing up the tooth, patients should not have any feeling in the tooth and treatment should be carried out pain free. In some situations where there is a lot of infection present or where the pulp is very inflamed this causes the tooth to be extremely sensitive and it can be harder to gain complete anaesthesia of the tooth. In these situations further anaesthetic and further time may be required to account for this.

It is also important to be aware of the chance of temporary pain or discomfort immediately following root canal treatment. Usually the tooth will be pain free following treatment but if there is an infection present below the tooth then the act of cleaning out and disinfecting the root canals of the tooth may disturb and aggravate this area of infection causing some initial pain that quite quickly subsides.

How long does root canal treatment take?

The length of appointment required for root canal can vary greatly depending on the complexity of treatment. In some cases it may take a couple appointments to complete the root treatment but, for simple cases, it can often take less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

Is root canal treatment always successful?

Root canal treatment, much like most treatments, cannot guarantee 100% success rate. In simple cases the success rate is likely to be estimated around 90% which reduces in certain cases due to factors such as: complex root shapes, blocked root canals or previous failed root treatment. Following a radiographic exam (X-ray) of the tooth, your dentist should be able to advise you whether the root treatment appears simple or complex.

Any other questions?

If you have any other questions about this subjects or anything else then, feel free to contact us on our Email: Your Dentist at Borland & Morton Dental Care would be more than happy to discuss any questions you might have at your appointment. Contact us on 01698 285726 to arrange an appointment.

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